Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetes can affect the vision in the long term and can cause Diabetic Retinopathy. High blood sugar levels cause damage to small blood vessels in the retina. It can affect the vision significantly as blood vessel may leak; become blocked or abnormally proliferate and bleed. Diabetic patients are at a higher risk of developing Diabetic Retinopathy if there is a long history of diabetes, poorly managed blood sugar levels and/or high blood pressure accompanied with kidney disease.

Symptoms

  • Blurred and distorted vision
  • Difficulty driving, watching TV or reading
  • Severe floaters (bleeding in the vitreous gel)

Diagnosis & Treatment

Diagnosis includes a slit lamp examination with dilated pupils which allows the Ophthalmologist to look inside the eye. Usually, a scan of the retina will be performed to exclude any swelling of the macula. The doctor may also do a Fluorescein Angiogram where a dye will be injected into the arm and photos will be taken of the retinal blood vessels. This test may demonstrate leaking or blockage of the blood vessels. Treatment in the early stages is regular eye examinations to monitor the condition. Injections, laser or surgical procedures may be used to decrease the risk of vision loss and slow progression of the disease.

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